DIY Biology

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I’ve talked about CRISPR (a gene-editing toolkit) before. After looking into biotechnology a bit more, I visited a local DIY biotechnology lab. What I saw astounded me:

Mutual Respect

The lab was completely devoid of ageism; a high school sophomore’s suggestion carried the same weight as a postdoc’s. This was a stark contrast to traditional college research hierarchies, where graduate researchers treat subordinates’ ideas with anything from goodnatured exasperation to utter contempt.

Welcoming

Far from eyeing us with suspicion, the project leaders enthusiastically brought us up to speed on their current experiments. They put us in touch with local DIY labs in our area, and indicated that younger siblings were welcome as well.

Contrarian

The project leaders were willing to work on unprofitable experiments that benefit society. For example, they’re creating a new way to test water potability, working on cost-reductions for lab equipment, and open-sourcing all of their findings. They’re reducing the barriers to entry for STEM* one step at a time, and for that I commend them.

*the dangers of easily accessible gene-editing kits will be discussed in the future.

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